Posts Tagged ‘ISRO’

Indian Mars orbiter’s fourth burn in earth orbit only partially succesful

November 11, 2013
The Indian Mars Orbiter Mission met its first setback last night when the planned 4th burn in earth orbit was achieved but did not or could not impart the extra velocity that was planned. The orbit rose from about 71,000 km (apogee) to 78,000 km instead of the planned 100,000 km. A supplementary burn is planned for the early hours of 12th November (burns are scheduled for when the spacecraft is near perigee and within clear and easy range of tracking stations).
The current position of the spacecraft is between India and Saudi Arabia

ISRO Press Release:

In the fourth orbit-raising operation conducted this morning (Nov 11, 2013), the apogee (farthest point to Earth) of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km by imparting an incremental velocity of 35 metres/second (as against 130 metres/second originally planned to raise apogee to about 100,000 [1 lakh] km). The spacecraft is in normal health. A supplementary orbit-raising operation is planned tomorrow (November 12, 2013) at 0500 hrs IST to raise the apogee to nearly 1 lakh km. 

During the orbit-raising operations conducted since November 7, 2013, ISRO has been testing and exercising the autonomy functions progressively, that are essential for Trans-Mars Injection (TMI) and Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI).  

During the first three orbit-raising operations, the prime and redundant chains of gyros, accelerometers, 22 Newton attitude control thrusters, attitude and orbit control electronics as well as the associated logics for their fault detection isolation, and reconfiguration have been exercised successfully. The prime and redundant star sensors have been functioning satisfactorily. The primary coil of the solenoid flow control valve was used successfully for the first three orbit-raising operations. 

During the fourth orbit-raising operations held today (November 11, 2013), the redundancies built-in for the propulsion system were exercised, namely, (a) energising the primary and redundant coils of the solenoid flow control valve of 440 Newton Liquid Engine and (b) logic for thrust augmentation by the attitude control thrusters, when needed. However, when both primary and redundant coils were energised together, as one of the planned modes, the flow to the Liquid Engine stopped. The thrust level augmentation logic, as expected, came in and the operation continued using the attitude control thrusters. This sequence resulted in reduction of the incremental velocity. 

While this parallel mode of operating the two coils is not possible for subsequent operations, they could be operated independently in sequence.

Mangalyaan current position 20131111 0830CET

Mangalyaan current position 20131111 0830CET

TOIThe first orbit-raising manoeuvre of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission was performed at 01:17 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) early on November 07, 2013) when the 440 Newton Liquid Engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds by commanding it from Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore. With this engine firing, the spacecraft’s Apogee (the farthest point to Earth) was raised to 28,825km.

The second orbit raising manoeuvre of MOM was at 02:18:51 hrs(IST) on Nov 8, 2013.The change observed in Apogee was from 28,814km to 40,186km. 

The third orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, starting at 02:10:43 hrs on Nov 09, 2013, was successful. The change observed in the Apogee was from 40,186 km to 71,636km.

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India’s frugal Mars orbiter mission completes 3rd burn in earth orbit

November 9, 2013

There has been some criticism  (within and outside India) from the usual suspects about the frugally-engineered, Indian, Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter mission as “being too expensive” for a developing country like India. I tend to discount these voices which merely continue the long, retrograde and shameful tradition of the Luddites. Some of these voices are of those who would like humankind to return to the trees. Others are of those who feel threatened by the idea of “backward nations” moving into space.

Reaching Mars is not that easy. More missions have failed than have succeeded. The full list of Mars missions is here. There are many crucial steps left for the Mangalyaan mission to achieve and success is far from assured.

TOI: India’s Mars Rover Mission (MOM) named ‘Mangalyaan’ is the 42nd mission aimed at understanding Mars. Out of the 41 missions so far, 25 have been declared failures and only 16 have been a success. Even the latest Phobos-Grunt/Yinghuo-1 launched by Russia/China was a failure as it got stranded in the earth’s orbit. 

Close on the heels of ‘Mangalyaan’ being sent into space by India, the United States (US) is also gearing up for the MAVEN mission to be launched on November 18, 2013. The mission is intended to be a step towards ‘unravelling the planetary puzzle about Mars’. The US is also gearing up for the Mars Rover 2020 mission to understand ‘Martian atmosphere’.

Underlying all missions is the vision of Mars one day being inhabited by humans. And that vision transcends the petty and mean criticism of those who can only see a “glass half empty”.

Last night the 3rd of five rocket burns was completed to lift the earth orbit of Mangalyaan from 40,186 km to 71,636 km (apogee). The fourth and fifth burns are planned for November 11th and 16th to raise the apogee to 100,000 km and then to 192,000 km. The 6th burn will be to leave Earth’s orbit and  insert the spacecraft into a trajectory towards Mars. The Trans-Mars injection is expected around 12.42 AM on December 1st.

ISRO: The third orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 02:10:43 hrs(IST) on Nov 09, 2013, with a burn time of 707 seconds has been successfully completed. The observed change in Apogee is from 40186km to 71636km.

ISRO’s Mission Profile.

The Launch Vehicle – PSLV-C25 will inject the Spacecraft into an Elliptical Parking Orbit with a perigee of 250 km and an apogee of 23,500 km. With six Liquid Engine firing, the spacecraft is gradually maneuvered into a hyperbolic trajectory with which it escapes from the Earth’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) and arrives at the Mars Sphere of Influence. When spacecraft reaches nearest point of Mars (Peri-apsis), it is maneuvered in to an elliptical orbit around Mars by firing the Liquid Engine. The spacecraft then moves around the Mars in an orbit with Peri-apsis of 366 km and Apo-apsis of about 80000 km. 

The mission consists of following three phases:

1. Geo Centric Phase
The spacecraft is injected into an Elliptic Parking Orbit by the launcher. With six main engine burns, the spacecraft is gradually maneuvered into a departure hyperbolic trajectory with which it escapes from the Earth’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) with Earth’s orbital velocity + V boost. The SOI of earth ends at 918347 km from the surface of the earth beyond which the perturbing force on the orbiter is mainly due to the Sun. One primary concern is how to get the spacecraft to Mars, on the least amount of fuel. ISRO uses a method of travel called a Hohmann Transfer Orbit – or a Minimum Energy Transfer Orbit – to send a spacecraft from Earth to Mars with the least amount of fuel possible. 

2. Helio Centric Phase
The spacecraft leaves Earth in a direction tangential to Earth’s orbit and encounters Mars tangentially to its orbit. The flight path is roughly one half of an ellipse around sun. Eventually it will intersect the orbit of Mars at the exact moment when Mars is there too. This trajectory becomes possible with certain allowances when the relative position of Earth, Mars and Sun form an angle of approximately 44o. Such an arrangement recur periodically at intervals of about 780 days. Minimum energy opportunities for Earth-Mars occur in November 2013, January 2016, May 2018 etc. 

3. Martian Phase
The spacecraft arrives at the Mars Sphere of Influence (around 573473 km from the surface of Mars) in a hyperbolic trajectory. At the time the spacecraft reaches the closest approach to Mars (Periapsis), it is captured into planned orbit around mars by imparting ∆V retro which is called the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre. The Earth-Mars trajectory is shown in the above figure. ISRO plans to launch the Mars Orbiter Mission during the November 2013 window utilizing minimum energy transfer opportunity.

Frugal engineering for India’s Mars mission

November 6, 2013

India has been struggling to bridge the gap to more developed nations without necessarily having to follow exactly the same path as that followed by other nations. Especially to achieve the development objectives in less time than it has taken those who did it first. Doing more with less is the name of the game and “Frugal engineering” (or “frugal innovation”) is defining a new paradigm for development.

There may perhaps not be any better example of the dictum that necessity is the mother of invention than can be found in India. Whether it is a refrigerator, ECG device or an automobile, Indian engineers have brought innovative products to market by designing them outside-in. …….

It may seem a contradiction, but some infrastructure gaps in India have positively affected Indian innovation: they have forced entrepreneurs and companies to adopt technologies that make relying on existing infrastructure (creaking and unreliable as it is in many ways) simply irrelevant. Indian engineers have invented a battery-powered, ultra-low-cost refrigerator resistant to power cuts; an automatic teller machine for rural areas; and even a flour mill powered by a scooter. People in the West, with its constant access to electricity, have little motivation to pursue such innovations. The Indian mobile phone industry is the poster child for leapfrogging over infrastructural constraints. A limited fixed-line infrastructure created an opportunity for mobile phones to reach many more people. Mobile telephony is also relatively cheap, sharable, and easily repaired. And thus, a new frontier of global innovation opened in India. …… 

The Indian mission to Mars which launched yesterday is another example of frugal engineering at work.

Hindustan Times:

India’s successful Mangalyaan launch is as much a financial accomplishment as a technical milestone. The entire Mars mission has cost the Indian Space Research Organisation a mere around Rs. 450 crore ($75 million) and took 15 months to put together. Much of the Martian price tag is for ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other Isro projects. The actual satellite costs a mere $25 million ( Rs. 153 crore), says Pallav Bagla of Science magazine. Comparison: Nasa’s similar MAVEN Mars project will cost 10 times more and will take three times longer.

Isro is widely cited as an example of “frugal engineering” …..  A US state department scientific adviser once said that Isro had reduced satellite assembly costs to a tenth of Nasa’s.

Isro’s accomplishments are remarkable given its tiny budget: $700 million ( Rs. 4,270 crore) in 2012-13. Despite a space programme whose financial base is the ninth largest, India is generally rated the world’s number six space power.

Of this, only 7% is allotted for planetary exploration. Isro’s prime directive has and continues to be the finding of technical means to support socio-economic goals such as education, medicine, water and disaster management.

Isro also defrays government support through a commercial arm, Antrix. Through the sale of satellite imagery, satellite launches and so on, Antrix earned a pre-tax Rs. 2 billion in 2010 alone. …..

India’s 100th space mission puts two satellites into orbit

September 10, 2012

The Indian space programme started 50 years ago and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has now achieved its 100th mission. Of course there is a debate on whether this is money is well spent considering the many needs in the country. My own view is that it is. The long term development of technology, I think, takes precedence over some short term benefits if the money was spent elsewhere.

Daily Mail:The Indian space programme reached yet another milestone with the successful launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying two foreign satellites from the Satish Dhawan spaceport, Sriharikota, in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday morning. 

This is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) 100th mission, which began with an experimental satellite called Aryabhata launched by a Russian rocket in April 1975. 

Incidentally, 2012 also marks 50 years of the start of the programme beginning with sounding rockets launched from Thumba in Kerala. …… 

The launch was delayed by two minutes – from 9.51 am to 9.53 am – after a safety analysis of data relating to space debris and asteroids. 

ISRO officials said this was a normal precaution taken to ensure safe journey for satellites to avoid any collision with space objects. 

Both satellites have been placed into their orbits precisely.

The count of 100 space missions includes 63 Indian satellites, 36 launch vehicle missions and one reusable space recovery mission.

The Hindu: 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday congratulated scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the successful launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C-21 from Sriharikota.

Expressing happiness at witnessing the launch, Dr. Singh complimented the Department of Space and the ISRO fraternity on this “spectacular success.”

“As ISRO’s 100th space mission, today’s [Sunday’s] launch is a milestone in our nation’s space capabilities,” he told a gathering of scientists that included the former ISRO chiefs.

Dr. Singh also congratulated EADS Astrium of France and the Osaka Institute of Technology of Japan on the successful launch of their satellites. This achievement was a testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity.

He noted that the year also marked the 50th anniversary of the commencement of India’s space programme and acknowledged the presence of many stalwarts of the earlier space programmes, including Project Directors of space missions. “Given the string of successes since then, we often forget how challenging space technology is and what a relatively new field it continues to be.” …..


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